LEE JOHNSON is set to be reunited with Aiden McGeady, after handing the former Sunderland winger a contract offer at Hibernian.

The pair worked together on Wearside as recently as last season, and the 36-year-old former Republic of Ireland international, who is a free agent following his departure from the Stadium of Light this summer, is on the verge of agreeing a move to Easter Road.

Recently-appointed Hibs boss Johnson was a firm fan of McGeady during the pair’s time together with the Black Cats, and is keen to resign the veteran, who began his career in Scotland with Celtic.

“I’ve got a strong relationship with Aiden McGeady,” said the former Sunderland manager. “He’s a fantastic player with unbelievable feet. When he gets to the corner of the box, often there’s an assist or a shot at goal.

“He’s 36 years old so whether it’s us or somewhere else, he’s got nothing to prove but a lot to prove as well. He’s a maverick. He’s a challenging but inspiring character to have in any squad. Whoever gets Aiden McGeady moving forward – certainly for a year or two – will have an exceptional player and person.”

The Scottish Premiership fixtures were announced on Thursday morning and Johnson learned that his first home league game in charge of Hibs will be against city rivals Hearts, with whom he had a short stint as a player in 2006.

“You couldn’t get a better first home game in charge in the league,” he said. “It’s a really big derby. I was lucky enough to play in it. It was one of the main reasons I wanted to come up, to experience that.

“My managerial derbies so far haven’t been exceptional. I missed the Bristol derby. I didn’t get Newcastle-Sunderland, so Oldham-Rochdale has probably been the best so far. This one is going to be a big game and I’m really looking forward to it but it’s not about me, it’s about the fans and getting off to a good start.”

Johnson was appointed Hibs manager last month and he is relishing being back in a big city with two prominent football clubs.

“The other day I bumped into two window cleaners very early in the morning on a walk,” he said. “One was a Hearts fan and one was a Hibs fan and I got a fair bit of stick off the Hearts fan. It was all good-natured."